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Vietnam lacks 24,000 preventive healthcare workers

By Chi Le   January 20, 2022 | 06:50 pm PT
Vietnam lacks 24,000 preventive healthcare workers
A medical worker (L) in Hanoi's Hoang Mai District records information of a Covid-19 patient. Photo by VnExpress/Chi Le
Vietnam needs 23,866 medical workers to carry out preventive healthcare programs, including 8,000 doctors and 4,000 public health graduates, authorities say.

A report released Thursday by the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control stresses that the shortage is not just of quantity, but also quality.

On average, each Center for Disease Control (CDCs) in the nation's 63 provinces and cities has about 161 employees, but the figure is unstable and is not "properly arranged," the report says. Many CDCs do not have enough qualified staff for specialized positions.

"After spending the last two years fighting the pandemic, medical workers are worn out because they have to work in a high-pressure environment for a long time and directly face high risks of infection."

Thousands have resigned, leading to the current shortage, it adds.

In HCMC, 968 staff at state-owned medical centers at ward and commune levels quit in the first 10 months of 2021 compared to 597 in 2020, according to the city’s Department of Health.

Most cited their family’s financial problems or personal reasons.

Apart from the personnel shortage, some CDCs have complained that their premises are too small and equipment too old to function properly.

Some provinces have specified that they not have cold storage facilities to store the Covid-19 vaccine or cabinets for keeping pathogenic biological samples, and have had to hire these from private firms or facilities.

The Health Ministry has said in response that it will issue better allowance policies for medical workers and raise their income to retain existing staff and attract new ones.

Vietnam now allows Covid-19 patients to get treated at home and requires hospitalization only for severe cases. To take care of the former, cities have been relying on medical task forces in wards and communes, including preventive healthcare workers.

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